Jeff Jarvis, quoted in an article about the intrusions of Google Glass.
Mr. Jarvis said we’ve been through a similar ruckus about cameras in public before, in the 1890s when Kodak cameras started to appear in parks and on city streets.Interesting things about that old NYT article:
The New York Times addressed people’s concerns at the time in an article in August 1899, about a group of camera users, the so-called Kodak fiends, who snapped pictures of women with their new cameras.
“About the cottage colony there is a decided rebellion against the promiscuous use of photographing machines,” The Times wrote from Newport, R.I. “Threats are being made against any one who continues to use cameras as freely.” In another article, a woman pulled a knife on a man who tried to take her picture, “demolishing” the camera before going on her way.
1. The word "kodak" — with a lower-case k — is used repeatedly in place of the word "camera," and the word "camera" appears once, toward the end, and only after "photographing machines." Less attention was paid back then, it seems, to the interest in preserving the trademark in brand names. (The loss of "aspirin" and "heroin" as Bayer trademarks came after WWI.)
2. The word "fiends," used repeatedly, connotes evil and addiction. From the same time period, the OED quotes: "The autograph-fiend; the cyclist-fiend; the interviewer-fiend; the newsboy-fiend; the organ-fiend" (1896), "‘A dope fiend’... A victim of the opium habit" (1896).
3. The word "promiscuous" fits with the nature of the perceived harm: women are victims. The article refers to "married men" wanting to bring lawsuits against the photographers. One man is said to have consulted a lawyer about whether "an assault could be charged" if the photograph is taken "against the will." But how sexual is the word "promiscuous"? The etymology connected it to "mixed up," and the oldest meaning is, according to the OED: "Done or applied with no regard for method, order, etc.; random, indiscriminate, unsystematic." The OED has some great quotes for the specifically sexual meaning that seems so central to us today:
1804 S. T. Coleridge Coll. Lett. (1956) II. 1119 He is..addicted to almost promiscuous Intercourse with women of all Classes.
1879 Harlequin Prince Cherrytop 29 Better frig, howe'er the mind it shocks, Than from promiscuous fucking catch the pox....
1924 C. Connolly Let. Dec. in Romantic Friendship (1975) 32, I am not promiscuous but I can't be loyal to an icicle....
1978 S. Herzel in P. Moore Man, Woman, & Priesthood viii. 119 It is precisely because men can compartmentalize that they are more easily promiscuous than women.